Moving to Namecheap

Moving to Namecheap

I recently decided to move this website, and my personal blog to a shared hosting account.

Why?

I believe I have at least one post about why I self host WordPress. Well, I changed my mind for a few reasons. The main one is… uptime. Whenever my VPS goes down, I have to worry that each second I’m losing potential visitors. Well, my hosting provider(guess by the title) offers 100% uptime, so I don’t have to worry about my VPS anymore. All of my projects and development WordPress site(s) are still there, but the main ones are on Namecheap. Another one is ease of maintenance. Updating PHP, the OS, the websever, MySQL, and fixing problems that occur(which isn’t that much), does take some time, which is less time I have to work on making content(or watching YouTube).

Namecheap

The biggest reason I chose Namecheap over the other providers is their pricing. As its name suggests, Namecheap has the most affordable pricing of the many providers I researched. Affordable doesn’t always mean it’s the best decision, but it is really close in this case. The plan I chose is called “Stellar” and is their shared hosting, as opposed to their WordPress managed hosting, called “EasyWP”. The plan has the following features:

  • 20GB of SSD-accelerated storage
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Up to 3 websites(which I believe should be domains)
  • Up to 30 subdomains
  • Pricing is $2.88/month or just $25/year
  • cPanel

If that’s not enough, their stellar plus plans offers unlimited storage, domains, and bandwidth for $4.88/month or $50/year.

Review

Support

Namecheap has ticket and live chat support. Their live chat support team can take care of most problems within minutes. However, other account-related problems are only available in the ticketing system, which can take quite a while to respond. After purchasing hosting from them, I set up my website. Then, within a few hours, my account was suspended, and I was told to contact Risk Management, or verify I was a person by providing the last four digits of my SSN, among other things.

Since I was not willing to provide that information, I opened a ticket. 10+ hours later, I opened another ticket by replying to the original email that my account was suspended, and still did not get a reply. Just when I was about to give up, and move to another provider, they responded at 23 hours. After the issue was resolved, I was able to actually use my account.

However, any problems I’ve had since then was taken care of by the live chat team within a few minutes.

Hosting

Namecheap actually offers hosting for both your website itself, and for your email accounts. I decided to use both, as it doesn’t cost anything extra, and it’s easier to have everything in one place. All configuring is done via cPanel, which is clean and surprisingly easy to use.

Website hosting

Namecheap offers their own website builder which you can use, or you can choose one of the many CMS’s available via Softaculous. You can even, technically, upload your own PHP-based program via FTP or the web UI. You can choose what PHP version, what PHP extensions are enabled, or even install a PEAR package. I chose to use WordPress, which installed within a minute.

In terms of performance, it’s amazing. According to GTMetrix, this website loads in under 2 seconds consistently, something that I was unable to do with self-hosting. The Softaculous installer can automatically install and configure W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache for you, which means your site will be fast from the start, because we all know caching = good(most of the time) 🙂 .

Email hosting

For shared hosting, email accounts are managed by cPanel. You can create, manage, and delete email accounts, and even set storage limits. There is a built-in spam filter, SpamAssassin, and built-in webmail. There isn’t much to review about email hosting, but it works, it’s easy to use, and its fast.

One thing to note, if you read their Acceptable Use Policy, is that:

If we determine that you have deliberately or recklessly used our hosting services for the sending of SPAM e-mail messages, we reserve the right to assess a $500 charge upon your account, which shall serve to compensate us for increased administration costs and expenses of redressing SPAM-related activity. You agree that in the event we determine that you have deliberately or recklessly engaged in SPAM activity, we may assess the fee entirely at our discretion. The fee will be charged to your account, in accordance with the payment information submitted by you as part of your acquisition of our services. You further agree that in the event we determine that you have deliberately or recklessly engaged in SPAM activity we may share information regarding your activities, including but not limited to your identity, with the various anti-SPAM organizations and/or blacklists.

To be fair, if they get one of their IPs marked as sending spam emails, it can be a tedious process to get it removed.

For WordPress users

If you plan on using the Jetpack plugin, or otherwise require XML-RPC, you must contact their support to enable this. They block it by default, which I found out here.

You also need to contact their support if you want to change your primary hosting domain, but this is usually done relatively fast. Also, if you want to add a domain to your account, you must set your domain’s DNS settings to their nameservers, or else you will get a notice telling you to do so. After the domain is added, you can change it to wherever you want; I recommend Cloudflare.

Summary

Namecheap has amazing hosting, at affordable rates, with one of the best support teams I’ve ever encountered. You can install WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or one of the other 100+ installers available to you, with email hosting bundled into one low price of just $25/year.

Notes

The few limitations you are not told of when you sign up are:

  • You are limited to 1GB of RAM(which should not be a problem for 99% of websites, especially if you use a caching plugin)
  • You can only have up to 300,000 files(again, not a problem for the majority of websites)
  • XML-RPC is blocked by default

However, these “limitations”(not that limiting), are easily made up for with their low price.

I also forgot to mention Jailed SSH access, which can be enabled by contacting support. This gives you access to basically a non-root account, with a few more limitations. However, this is still useful if you prefer to use nano over the built-in cPanel editor, or if you are developing a PHP program.

Blog update: I have decided to switch to a weekly publishing schedule instead of every other day.

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